Much we can do and even more to learn about COPD

For World COPD Day 2018 and the publication of Life of Breath’s new Policy Report, consultant respiratory physician and honorary senior lecturer at the the Academic Respiratory Unit (University of Bristol) Dr James Dodd writes… What is COPD? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary … Read more…

Breathing through oxygen technology in Uruguay and South Africa (Wainwright, 2018)

Life of Breath collaborator Dr. Megan Wainwright introduces her new paper “Exploring ambivalent human-oxygen technology-world relations through the lens of Postphenomenlogy” published in the Journal of Material Culture as part of a special issue on Ambivalent Objects in Global Health (Eds. … Read more…

Phenomenology’s contribution to health and illness

A new book on phenomenology and illness entitled Existential Medicine: Essays on Health and Illness is now out, with a chapter by Life of Breath Principle Investigator Havi Carel and PhD student Tina Williams. The book’s editor, Professor Kevin Aho, is the author of Existentialism: An Introduction, Heidegger’s … Read more…

Invisible Suffering: The Experience of Breathlessness (Carel, 2018)

"LUNGTREE VI" - Cover photo by Maja Bjelica

In this book chapter in the volume Atmospheres of Breathing, Prof Carel considers breathlessness from a phenomenological perspective, reframing it as an existential, social, personal, cultural and psychological phenomenon, rather than a medical symptom. (Read more about the book on … Read more…

Chronic breathlessness: re-thinking the symptom (Macnaughton et al, 2018)

The Life of Breath team, like our colleagues at Breathe Oxford, recently responded to the proposal that defining chronic breathlessness as a syndrome might raise awareness of its impact on people’s lives. We stress that more consultation with ‘experts-by-experience’ (patients who experience … Read more…

Smog in a Time of Tobacco Control (Russell, 2017)

While in Delhi for a recent UN convention on tobacco control, anthropologist Andrew Russell reports on widespread ‘astroturfing’ – large multinationals subsidising apparently independent interest groups to secretly (or not so secretly) push corporate interests. Interference, intimidation, emotional blackmail and … Read more…

Chronic breathlessness: re-thinking the symptom (Faull et al, 2018)

Recently it was proposed that defining chronic breathlessness as a syndrome might raise awareness of its impact on people’s lives . Our collaborators at Breath Oxford responded. Their research explores the neuroscience of breathlessness, particularly the networks that generate perceptions. They … Read more…

Listening to the past

How do we ​accurately ​measure hearing loss? In a new paper in The British Journal for the History of Science, Life of Breath researcher Coreen McGuire​ (University of Bristol) and Jaipreet Virdi shed light on ​the career of Dr Phyllis Margaret Tookey Kerridge (1901–1940) – a pioneer … Read more…

Inspiring change: humanities and social science insights into the experience and management of breathlessness

Durham team members Rebecca Oxley and Jane Macnaughton argue that, in order to treat breathlessness more effectively, we need a greater understanding of how it feels to be breathless and how this experience may be communicated. In particular they explore the differences between the way … Read more…

Breath in the technoscientific imaginary

Here, Durham researcher Arthur Rose explores breath as a theme, metaphor and plot device in Science Fiction. Whether used to convey a sense of anticipation, otherness, or even signify life itself, breath is a common motif in artistic media. Drawing on Fahrenheit 451, Star … Read more…

Breathing and Breathlessness in Clinic & Culture

Our PIs, Jane Macnaughton and Havi Carel have contributed a chapter on breathing and breathlessness to a new book, ‘The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities’, in which expert contributors from around the world map out the field of the critical … Read more…

Metaphysics and heavy breathing (or Tippett’s Fourth Symphony)

How can art (in this case, music) illuminate human experience? Here project collaborator Toby Young contemplates Tippett’s Symphony No. 4 (1977), a ‘birth to death piece’ which features amplified human breath, most notably at the start and end. Can experiencing the piece help us understand what … Read more…